Movie Review

Movie Review -- 'Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom' is a Dinosaur Disaster

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is just short of a flat out failure -- it’s only marginally better than Jurassic Park III, which is an awful, awful film. Even despite this, lock in this fifth chapter to rake in out of this world profits. 

This movie will be adored by domestic audiences and is almost definitely a not-soon-to-be-extinct franchise. After the screening I attended earlier this week, the audience clapped and cheered once the credits rolled — walking out, everyone was buzzing and chatting with praise of the film. Given my knowledge of American...

Movie Review - ‘A Wrinkle In Time’ Gets Lost in Translation and That’s Why It’s Awful

“The book is always better” is a cliched refrain many bookworms love to spout any time there’s a movie adaptation of their beloved book. Sometimes this cliche is very wrong. The Lord of the Rings films by Peter Jackson, for instance, excels at capturing the heart and soul of the novels while simultaneously being its own thing. But, The Lord of the Rings is largely an external story, focusing on action and plot with little internalization. A Wrinkle In Time is the inverse. Its plotting is basic but the beauty of the book is the heavy internalization....

Movie Review - 'Darkest Hour' Rests Comfortably on Gary Oldman's Performance

Hitler and the Nazis are at the gates again. Like dominoes, Europe is falling to Germany’s invasion and it seems like only a matter of time before France falls, too. Meanwhile, England is in crisis as they seek to find a new Prime Minister after Neville Chamberlain. The only person who can potentially create a large coalition of government is Winston Churchill, a man loved by some and loathed by many others. Within this pressure point, Darkest Hour excels, esteeming a man rising from the ashes with conflict meeting him at all sides. But, it’s Gary Oldman’s committed portrayal of the curmudgeon Churchill that deepens the experience and creates a much-needed lynchpin in the process. ...

Movie Review - 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' Heightens the Franchise but Its Villains are Lacking

After the epic cliffhanger of The Force Awakens, eager anticipation has been building the past few years to see a continuation of the story. Fan theories abounded about Rey’s parentage, what her vision meant, and what Luke had been doing on the island of Ahch-to. What was Luke going to say? Did he turn to the Dark Side? Is he a grey Jedi? All of these questions have answers in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. But do they really matter? In the end, it’s the story, the characters, and the overall storytelling that we should care about. Thankfully, Star Wars: The Last Jedi excels at all of that. The story is crisp, action-packed,...

'Sorcerer' is the Movie We Need Right Now, Not 'Star Wars'

I, like many Millennials, was not alive in 1977. I grew up in the age of Star Wars, the age of the big blockbuster film that left everyone leaving the theater feeling generally happy, positive, and optimistic. Escapism isn’t new to Hollywood. It is Hollywood. During The Great Depression, people flocked to the theater to escape their awful, poverty-stricken life.  Somewhere along the line, though, when the depression had long been over, auteurs like William Friedkin and Francis Ford Coppola made extremely nihilistic and existential films, forcing people to face the mirror. This era of cinema called The New Hollywood movement, many believe, met its decisive end with Star Wars. ...

Movie Review - 'Justice League' Fixes Past Errors, Creates More in the Process

After the colossal failure of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad, the execs at Warner Bros. knew they needed to right the DC ship immediately. Wonder Woman’s success instilled a small hope all was not lost, making the anticipation up to the penultimate Justice League that much more nail-biting. Let’s be clear about something, everyone wants Justice League to succeed. Everyone. In comics and pop culture, the Justice League is iconic and resonates with so many people. Whereas few people understood why Batman and Superman would fight each other, everyone understands...

Movie Review - Kenneth Branagh Can't Save 'Murder on the Orient Express' From Derailing in the Third Act

Murder mysteries are as old as time. Indeed, perhaps the first murder mystery appeared in the Bible when God asked Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” Of course, we all know that mystery was quickly solved. Spoiler alert, Cain did it. Since then the stories grew more complex, leading all the way up to Agatha Christie's titular novel, “Murder on the Orient Express.” A novel beloved and adapted many times before and likely will be again. With the mass number of murder mysteries published and produced since Christie’s novel, its difficult to make the genre fresh, new, and entertaining. There’s nothing new under the sun and the tropes have their own tropes at this point. So, Murder on the Orient Express...

Movie Review - 'Thor: Ragnarok' Excels at Comedy and That's Kind of the Problem

thor ragnarok Of the movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Thor never quite took off the way Captain America and Ironman did. Thor was not very memorable and barely had a villain. Thor: The Dark World fixed the villain problem. He just wasn’t a very good one. In both of these films, and in all of his appearances, Thor plays the straight-man to Loki’s silly and mischievous antics. He may have cracked a joke here and there but for the most part, he played the brooding Norse god from Asgard and that was kind of it. So, the question leading up to Thor: Ragnarok was, “Who really wants another Thor movie?” To some degree, putting in a third installment felt obligatory...

Movie Review - 'The Killing of a Sacred Deer' Will Simultaneously Creep You Out and Make You Think

Last year, a curious thing about Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Lobster was its flat, monotone dialogue. The characters spoke plainly, at times hilarious so, and it shaped the rest of the film and imprinted a style similar to Wes Anderson. While Anderson presents characters with wild eccentricities, Lanthimos’ characters are, simply put, mundane in comparison. For The Lobster, this style came off as odd but it worked well with the themes and humor. It made their matter-of-fact statements that much more laughable. Lanthimos continues this style with bizarre results in The Killing of a Sacred Deer. While The Lobster...

Movie Recall - The Dreamlike 'Blade Runner' Still a Neo-Noir Masterpiece.

Two things which make Blade Runner so unique is its tone and score. It goes without saying the special effects were groundbreaking for its time, creating an all-immersive world you could feel, taste, and touch, bustling with bicyclers, pedestrians, shopkeepers, and the degenerates of the city. The oppressive hovering machines both watching you and advertising to you at the same time. In 2019, Los Angeles hadn’t gotten cleaner but more filthy with plenty of industrial factories blazing and the streets of the city covered in soot and trash. The world-building is stunning. Still, it’s Ridley Scott’s commitment to selling the dreamy, gritty, cyberpunk neo-noir tone and Vangelis's epic score which...